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Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

September 24, 2009

oryxcrakeI read this book years ago, when it was first released in paperback in 2004. Since the new book The Year of the Flood takes place in the same dystopian universe, I thought that I would review the original book. I’m not a huge fan of re-reading books, but I thought that since I enjoyed this one so much the first time around, that it would be fun to rediscover that world. It turns out that I was wrong. I certainly enjoyed reading it for a second time, but I certainly did not like the book nearly as much. Usually, I can never remember exact details or plot sequences of any of the books I read after a couple of years. I have a notoriously poor memory, and I read so much that there’s no way that I could remember all of that information. Oryx and Crake, however, is one of the books whose characters and imagery have stuck with me for years. There is one image that I remember in particular: a fake “chicken on a stick,” a creature that was created from DNA engineering to have nothing but the most vital organs and about a dozen breasts. There are all sorts of other crazy images; this one just happened to be the one that I will always remember. I was surprised to discover how much of the ending I remembered as soon as I sat down with the book. I wish that I could experience reading this book for the first time again, because I remember being shocked and horrified by so much of the book. But this time, unfortunately, the shock was gone, and I felt like I was reading this as a sort of “chore” before I could get to the fun stuff–the new book that just came out! But for first time readers, I would  highly recommend this book. The story is so gripping, and the characters and images so memorable that you will feel like you never stopped reading it!

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